The White House announced plans on Monday to help countries swept by "Arab Spring" revolutions with more than $800 million in economic aid, while US offers around $3.1 billion to Israel.
In a year marked by fierce debate over U.S. budget deficits, President Barack Obama sought to maintain the core of U.S. spending on overseas aid and development while squeezing savings out of existing programs and scaling back proposals to build new embassies and hire more diplomats.
In his annual budget message to Congress, Obama asked that military aid to Egypt be kept at the level of recent years - $1.3 billion - and sought $250 million in regular economic aid for the country as it makes its shaky transition away from autocratic rule following the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak last year.
Egypt has a peace treay with Israel.
The proposals are part of Obama's budget request for fiscal year 2013, which begins Oct. 1. His requests need the approval of Congress.
Obama proposed $51.6 billion in funding for the U.S. State Department and foreign aid overall, when $8.2 billion in assistance to war zones is included.
The White House sought a 1.6 percent increase in the State Department's budget, excluding spending for Iraq and Afghanistan, which was tallied up separately.
Most of the new economic aid for the Arab Spring countries - $770 million - would go to a new "Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund," the president said in his budget plan.
Officials said the bulk of this would be new money, and would be spent on initiatives to support long-term economic, political, and trade reforms for countries in transition such as Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen.
Obama continued the practice of putting proposed foreign assistance for war zones in a separate account. This account, known as the "Overseas Contingency Operations," includes $8.2 billion for the State Department and foreign aid.
It includes $3.3 billion for Afghanistan, $1 billion for Pakistan, and $4 billion for Iraq, where U.S. troops have left the country but the State Department has picked up some of their functions such as police training.
Overall funding for Iraq declined about 10 percent from the 2012 fiscal year to $4.8 billion.
Assistance for Israel was steady at around $3.1 billion.
The new Middle East financing initiative builds on other programs, including up to $2 billion in regional Overseas Private Investment Corporation financing, up to $1 billion in debt swaps for Egypt, and approximately $500 million in existing funds re-allocated to respond to the region last year, the budget document said.
It did not say how the Middle East and North Africa Incentive Fund would be divided between countries, or give any other details of the plan.Güncelleme Tarihi: 14 Şubat 2012, 12:04